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Creating An Outline

Developing a routine for creating college papers helps students with efficiency and time management. A formula for writing general papers can be easy to follow and will make the task easier. Identifying important information to use in a paper does not have to be a difficult task either.

Identifying Important Information

Limit the information chosen for the paper to pertinent, factual material. Peer-reviewed material is always best. Do not stray from the topic. Only include information that is vital to your paper's main theme or argument.

Ask yourself these questions about the items to be added to your paper:

Following a formula for organizing a paper will make the task easier, and coupled with scholarly, well-informed content, can make for a solid document.

An effective formula for creating an outline is:


I. Introduction. The introduction should give the reader an introduction and a format for the flow of the paper. The topic should be summed-up in one or two thesis sentences in the introduction. The rest of the paper should follow the sequence of the thesis sentence. After the introduction, each section should receive its own title.

Example: "The historical, social, and philosophical foundations of instructional technology, and the theories associated with it, can be studied and recommendations made for the future" (Calvano, 2011, p. 3).

II. First Paragraph: History. The first paragraph after the Introduction should relate information from the first topic listed in the introductory sentence.

Example: "Instructional technology has grown in complexity over the past 111 years, from stereographs, to radio, film, TV, computers, and the Internet" (Calvano, 2011, p. 3). This sentence introduces the subject of history.

III. Second Paragraph: Philosophical and Theoretical History. The second paragraph should reflect the second topic introduced in the paper's introductory sentence. In this case, two topics (philosophy and theory) were fused, as they are closely related in subject matter.

Example: "Instructional technology is best for students if the educator understands his or her pedagogical philosophical beliefs and their theoretical standpoint to those beliefs" (Calvano, 2011, p. 3).

IV. Third Paragraph: Social Influences. The third paragraph should convey the next topic correlating to the topic sentence of the paper.

Example: "Societal changes and instructional technology are interrelated. Feminism, racial issues, capitalism, the military, the media, popular culture, TV, and movies have been factors in societal change and instructional technology" (Calvano, 2011, p. 6).

V. Fourth Paragraph: Current Practices. The fourth paragraph for this paper should reflect the next item listed in the paper's topic sentence. This paragraph addresses current issues, as the paper has already addressed the past and will also focus on the future.

Example: "Instructional technology in education is a topic of serious and prolific research" (Calvano, 2011, p. 7).

VI. Fifth Paragraph: Recommendations for the Future of Instructional Technology. The fifth paragraph should recognize the final element of the paper's first sentence.

Example: "Instructional technology has been transforming for over 100 years. It has assimilated into the fabric of the American education system, and has been a factor in changes in that system" (Calvano, 2011, p. 10). This sentence introduced the recommendations.

VII. Conclusion. The conclusion should be a summation of the paper. Conclusions can be made from arguments made in the paper. Revisiting the introduction is helpful in formulating the conclusion.

Example: "The study of the historical, social, and philosophical foundations of instructional technology, and the theories associated with it, form a base of which to track the progress of this important contemporary issue in education" (Calvano, 2011, p. 11).

Identifying important information and using a proven formula to create cohesive college papers can assist the student in using time and resources efficiently. The use of learning tools that make the work easier and efficient is an effective approach for academic success.


Calvano, B. (2011). Contemporary issues in education. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, EDD/711 (Social Contexts and Contemporary Issues), website.

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